In a field in Surrey, environmental protesters are gathering for Climate Camp 2007, a high-profile protest against the expansion of Heathrow Airport and air transport in general. Meanwhile, banned by a BAA injunction from attending the demo they were instrumental in organising, activists from the group Plane Stupid set up their own camp this morning – under an aircraft in Wales.
The Airbus A380 was being transported from its base in North Wales in a barge along the River Dee. Plane Stupid members boarded the barge and pitched tents underneath the wing, hoping to force the vehicle to return to base. However, police escorted the protestors off the barge before they were able to achieve their aim.
In a statement made from his tent on the barge, activist Leo Murray described climate change as a “planetary emergency” and countered Airbus’ claims that the A380 is an “environmentally-friendly aircraft”: “Waiting for an aeroplane that doesn’t cause climate change is like holding out for a cigarette that doesn’t cause cancer. It’s just not scientifically credible.”
This week’s actions illustrate growing concern over the aviation industry’s contribution to climate change. Aviation already accounts for almost 15% of the UK’s contribution to climate change and is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse-gas emissions in the UK.